Of Earmarks and Such

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CQ has an interesting bit of news on how certain presidentially-aspiring Senators are behaving behind closed doors. It’s not as exciting as it sounds, but it gives some more context to why it is that Congress is having such a hard time earning the respect of the American voter — and how the Dems’ takeover hasn’t really changed much. (Related issues, no doubt.)

When the Senate Armed Services Committee held its customary closed-door markup of the annual defense authorization bill at the end of last month, just before the Capitol emptied out for Memorial Day, Arizona’s John McCain , who remains in the top tier of aspirants for the 2008 Republican nomination, teamed up with freshman Democrat Claire McCaskill , a former state auditor from Missouri, on a proposal to require that the bill’s earmarks, plus their intended recipients and sponsors, be made public.

The vote on their amendment, like everything else about the session, was kept secret by the committee. But a memo circulated among Senate offices revealed that their provision was adopted 15-10 — and over the opposition of nearly all the Democrats on the panel. The most prominent opponents were Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York — who is of course the presumed front-runner for her party’s presidential nomination. Levin and Clinton also happened to be the No. 1 and No. 2 sponsors of earmarks in this year’s bill, respectively.

Obama recently revealed all 113 of his earmarks.

UPDATE: McCain has not revealed his earmark requests because McCain has no earmark requests.